Them Damned Pictures: Explorations in American Political Cartoon Art
In late nineteenth-century America, political cartoonists Thomas Nast, Joseph Keppler, Bernhard Gillam and Grant Hamilton enjoyed a stature as political powerbrokers barely imaginable in today's world of instant information and electronic reality. Their drawings in Harper's Weekly, the dime humor magazines Puck and the Judge, and elsewhere were often in their own right major political events. In a world of bare-knuckles partisan journalism, such power often corrupted, and creative genius was rarely restrained by ethics. Interpretations gave way to sheer invention, transforming public servants into ogres more by physiognomy than by fact. Blacks, Indians, the Irish, Jews, Mormons, and Roman Catholics were reduced to a few stereotypical characteristics that would make a modern-day bigot blush. In this pungent climate, and with well over 100 cartoons as living proof, Roger Fischer - in a series of lively episodes - weaves the cartoon genre in to the larger fabric of politics and thought the Guilded Age, and beyond.
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